Lesson 3, Page 15 of 20

An antidysmenorrheic relieves the problems and discomfort of menstruation.


Prefixes are word elements attached to the beginning of a word to modify or qualify the meaning of the word. We have already introduced some prefixes. In this section we will introduce some additional prefixes along with examples of their use:

We have already introduced the prefix anti- (ant- often before a vowel or h) which means "against" or "opposed to." Some words that we mentioned containg the prefix anti- or ant-) include:

antibiotic - "against life"
anthelmintic - "against worms"
anticoagulant - "against coagulation of blood"
antihistamine - "against histamine"
antalgesic - "against pain"

Here are some other examples of words containing the prefix anti- that are of particular interest to herbalists:

antiemetic [emet-, vomiting] - an agent that relieves nausea and vomiting
antihydrotic [hydro-, sweat] - an agent that reduces or stops perspiration
antilithic - [lith-, stone] an agent that reduces the production of urinary stones or acts to dissolve those already present
antiperiodic - a substance that works against periodic or intermittent diseases
antiphlogistic [phlogist-, fire] - an agent that reduces inflammation (anti-inflammatory)
antipyretic [pyret-, fever] - an agent that prevents or reduces fever (same as febrifuge)
antiscorbutic [scorbut-, scurvy] - a substance (containing vitamin C) that prevents or cures scurvy
antiseptic [sepsis, putrifaction] - an agent that inhibits or destroys pathogenic bacteria
antispasmodic - an agent that relieves or prevents spasms
antitussive [tuss, cough] - an agent that relieves coughing

Another common prefix that you should know is a- (an- before a vowel or h) which means "not, without, deficient, or lacking."

An analgesic [an-, not + alg, pain] is a substance that relieves pain. Likewise an anodyne [" + -odyne, pain] is a pain reliever. Compare these two words with antalgesic. All three words mean the same thing.

anhidrosis [an-, not + hidro, sweat + osis, a condition] a condition characterized by diminished or complete absense of sweating.

What does achiria mean? (Hint: Remember the word chiropractic?)

congenital absence of one or both hands
congenital absence of the brain
pain in one or both hands
pain on one side of the head